To My Friends & Family

I am head-over-heels in love with this season. I enjoy dreary weather, I like the cold, and I live for the last three months of every year. I know there are plenty of people like me out there, but I also know there are not.

In addition to the daily chaos and hardships of life, the holidays add stress for people. Moms and dads feel pressure to make their homes magical for their kids. Bloggers see pictures of other bloggers’ decorated trees and hearths and homes. Instagram is filled with tightly wrapped presents and perfectly decorate cookies. I saw Bad Moms Christmas in theaters a few weeks ago and the premise- people (moms) are under a ton of stress to make the holidays perfect- is so true. Hell, people are under stress 365 days a year to make their lives (seem) perfect!

Right now I feel like a lot of my friends- real life and in the blog world- are fighting their way through tough ass seasons. Unfortunate health diagnoses or slow healing-injuries, parents pulling their hair out over rebellious toddlers or cranky babies, sick pets and struggling friendships or relationships and turmoil within the family… Everyone is going through something and it hurts my heart to see my loved ones plagued with these struggles.

I struggle with that fact that some people just aren’t happy. We only get one life to live and the idea of mucking our way through in a state of constant unhappiness makes me so upset. No one can be sunshine and rainbows all the time, but in general I want people to be joyful. I’m one of those people who feels like the weight of everyone’s happiness falls on my shoulders and, while I know that’s untrue and unhealthy, it affects me deeply when my friends are down and out.

I can’t control you or your life or the things that happen to you, but I do know that what you’re going through is a season and seasons pass. The Christmas season is a wonderful one for me, but it won’t stick around forever. The next season will be better or worse and have it’s own arsenal of curveballs, but it will arrive and I will deal with it and, eventually, it will pass. And with every season we learn something new.

So, my friends, don’t fret. This season will pass. Whether you wait it out or turn the page yourself, you will come out on the other side and things will be different. Perfect? No. But it’ll be different and you can look back (or not look back), and be grateful for where you are now. Love yourself and give yourself grace along the way. Practice kindness and accept help from others. I guarantee you are loved by someone (possibly me!) and that person is rooting for you- whether you know it or not.

If you’re reading this and you’re a close friend and you feel like you’re struggling, I hope you’ll reach out. I know the holidays can get dark and overwhelming but I promise I’m always free for a phone call or text exchange or mailed Christmas greeting. There’s always room around our holiday table and I definitely don’t mind a dinner date with a friend ❀︎

Try not to spend the holidays (or your life) faking a smile- find a way to crack a genuine one. You don’t have to have a perfect tree or a perfect home or a perfect Instagram. You’re loved just the way you are and you’re doing a great job. Life is difficult and you’re doing it- be proud of yourself.

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32 thoughts on “To My Friends & Family

  1. Aww, I know you didn’t write this for me specifically, but it feels like you did because it really resonates with me and all the stress and business I am going through right now. Thanks for the reminder that it will pass and that I am loved by friends and family. Sometimes it feels like I’m alone on an island, but it’s not true. Reaching out is easy to do.

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    1. I have some internal stress this time of year, but I know a lot of my friends are going through things much bigger and tougher than me. It’s always good to remind people that they’re loved and appreciated πŸ™‚ I’m glad you were able to take something away from this post! I wrote it for anyone in need! ❀

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    1. Thanks, Jae. I don’t know why the holidays seem so stressful, but they just do for some folks! But of course stress comes and goes, and it’s easiest to get through it knowing that you’re not alone πŸ™‚

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  2. This is so good. We do feel such pressure to be perfect and live enviable lives these days. And most people have very good, blessed lives that are intermixed with crap because we all have crap in our lives. Some unfortunate days, it is all we have! But I also when remind myself when I’m wallowing in a crap day, that I am not alone, that this day will pass.This is a good reminder to be extra kind, extra gentle with those around us who are struggling and to let them know it’s okay.

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    1. So true. I have noooo idea all the b.s. and crap that my own friends and family go through, let alone a stranger on the street or on the internet. Extending grace and kindness and being gentle never hurt anyone πŸ™‚

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  3. I love this. You are so right, there are many people who have things going on in their lives right now and they plaster on their smiles and try to make it seem like everything is fine. This is my favorite time of year, and it is hard to bring me down right now….but I know it is not for everyone and people get stressed. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you that it is going to be ok, or that you are there for a hug….or a drank. Thank you for being a shining light!

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    1. I love this time of year but I’ve had years when things just felt off. I’m grateful this isn’t one of them, but I know for a lot of people it is 😦 I’m glad you feel the happiness and cheer this time of year, too! Thank you for your sweet words!

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  4. This is a really beautiful post, thank you for sharing your thoughts. So encouraging! Some people can really bring you down acting like Scrooge, but you have to remember to rise above. I am a little stressed this year thinking about financially and how Christmas won’t be the same as it has in the past as far as gift giving for my family, but you know what…we have each other and that’s all that truly matters.

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    1. You are doing a wonderful job, Emelia! I think you bring so much holiday joy and cheer to those around you! And caring for your family and baby Bella is NOT an easy job- but you’re doing it πŸ™‚ You guys have one another and after a year like yours, that’s so special and important! ❀

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  5. I loved every single word of this. You’re such an encourager, Audrey! And you’re exactly right–whatever hard thing we’re going through is just a season, and we absolutely do need to stop comparing ourselves/trying to make everything perfect!!

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    1. Oof. I asked K the other day why anxiety and depression seem so rampant now a days. (Self included, though I’ve been managing it better lately.) I honestly believe A LOT of it has to do with what we see and put out there on social media. No one is perfect but sometimes it seems like people are. We all struggle- it’s good to remember that both when we’re comparing ourselves and judging others. Grace grace grace πŸ˜‰

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  6. This made me choke up. I am someone that tries to find JOY in everything but the holidays just aren’t my favorite … for SOOO many reasons. I just try to make it through. So I needed this post – the words – the encouragement. Thank you sweet soul!

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    1. I think you’re one of the most joyful people I know! I’m sorry the holidays are a little tough for you. (Why does it seem like so many BAD things happen around the holidays? We’ve lost two friends on Christmas day and we’ve had to say goodbye to two dogs within days of Christmas.) I think the holiday season brings something different to everyone and it’s so important to remember that! ❀

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  7. This is such a thoughtful post. There are so many people going through loads and sometimes this time of year isn’t the happiest for them. I hope they see your post and feel encouraged.
    There is alot of pressure this time of year to make things perfect and it just adds to stress levels. I am looking forward to watching “Bad Mom’s Christmas” – really enjoyed the first one.

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    1. I’m always so sad to hear from people who don’t enjoy the holidays (or life in general, really), but I know we’re all fighting battles and overcoming obstacles. The best thing we can do is be there for one another πŸ™‚
      I hope you see Bad Moms Christmas soon! It was pretty funny!

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  8. This is so sweet! I’ll admit that one of the reasons we moved was to eliminate the stress that holidays bring for us with all the travelling between famillies. Not to mention the stress that we take on from our parents who think that we need to have the perfect Christmas even as adults. Now, it’s just us and we love our holidays.

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    1. Living in the midst of family has forced us to lay down the law on holidays. We’ve definitely had to turn down parties and dinners because it just didn’t work and we just weren’t enjoying ourselves. Being so close to family is a blessing and a curse. I’m glad you guys have found a way to enjoy your holidays!!

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  9. I know a lot of people who are going through tough times and it takes away a bit of my joyfulness, but I am trying to be the positive and supportive friend that I am.

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    1. It hurts to see loved ones hurting 😦 I really wish I could make their pain go away- especially when it affects me so deeply, too! All we can do is lend a shoulder to cry on or a hand to help! ❀

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  10. love this post! i definitely take it personally when people in my life are unhappy about something, which is ridiculous but what can you do. i try and stay an overall happy person myself, even during little tough seasons. it’s weird, i don’t think about my unhappiness impacting other people, but i feel theirs, they likely feel mine. something to think about anyway. happy thanksgiving πŸ™‚

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    1. I agree with you completely. I definitely internalize other people’s sadness and pain. I’ve never thought about other people doing that with mine! (Well, I know K does when I’m really angry or upset. He’s the only one I’ve ever thought about, though!) I know I drive people a little crazy when I put so much emphasis on them having fun, but I’m just worries about them, ya know?? Lol

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  11. Oh I love this. I’ve been feeling this way all year. Obviously with family things, but also just feeling like everyone I know is dealing with some awful things too. It’s so hard to know what to do, or how to help, and to accept that I can’t control those things as well. I feel the weight also. I have to remind myself, of KC does.. daily.. that I do what I can do.. and the rest is not up to me. I also agree that our lives are so consumed with comparison. It’s good to have this reminder right now. Thank you so much for sharing this. It really really really resonates with me and the year I’m having. πŸ™‚ XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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    1. It’s so tough to feel joyful and cheery and even thankful when people around you are hurting. KC is totally right, though- you do all that you can and the rest just isn’t up to you. (I swear I need that tattooed inside my eyelids. UGH.) I know this year has been a tough one for you 😦 I hope you find peace and small (and large) ways to celebrate this season and 2018 ends up being the best year ever for you!! ❀

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  12. this is a really beautiful post, audrey. i got all teary reading it and found myself nodding along with much of what you’re saying. i am finally ready to get ‘in the spirit of christmas’ so i hope i do feel those warm fuzzies and holiday cheer that i so look forward to each year. i am like you and feel everyone’s emotions as they are my own and it’s quite exhausting. i suppose it’s better for us to feel too much than nothing at all ❀

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    1. Thank you, Chelsea! Every I struggle (either a little bit or A LOT) to get into the spirit. I start the season so early because sometimes it just don’t *click* right away. Even as a kid I had trouble getting into the spirit if things just didn’t feel right. This year I’m feeling much more on track. I’m glad you’re nearly there, too, mentally!
      Ughhh. I am such a sarcastic, straightforward person but I just take on EVERYONE’S emotional stress and troubles. It’s exhausting. We are just wired so intensely!

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